February 28, 2014 Updated: March 1, 2014 at 9:06 am
Former Fort Carson soldier Aaron Lucas was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison Friday for sex crimes in El Paso County involving girls between the ages of 4 and 10.
The charges against Lucas, 32, ranged from indecent exposure to kidnapping and rape spanning from 2009 to 2012.
Lucas, pleaded guilty Nov. 26 to nine cases of sexual assault on children.
DNA evidence tied him to the cases, prosecutors said.
Lucas initially intended to blame his twin brother, Brian Lucas, whose DNA is a near-identical match, but he later dropped the "evil twin" defense and admitted to the crimes.
However, his brother is now accused of committing his own list of sex crimes in Alabama.
Brian Lucas was arrested in Huntsville, Ala. in late January on suspicion of felony sodomy and sexual abuse - specifically, fondling a child, according to jail records. He is being held without bond in Alabama awaiting trial.
During Aaron Lucas' sentencing, parents of the victims asked the judge to give Lucas the maximum sentence, tearfully explaining how their children struggled to have a normal childhoods and continue to live in fear.
"I don't know what to do with her, seeing her and seeing the way she is," said the Spanish-speaking parent of one young victims, who spoke to the judge by phone. A translator interpreted her testimony, which was punctuated by sobs.
"We will never be alright again," she said.
Another mother of two daughters who is a retired Navy chief petty officer said that after her younger daughter was assaulted by Lucas, her older daughter, who was then 17 years old, ran away from home and dropped out of school During the attack on the younger sister, Lucas was wearing his Army uniform.
4th Judicial District court judge David Shakes said Lucas was in uniform when he sexually assaulted several other victims, as well, a factor he listed as an aggravation in the sentencing.
"Our daughter was taught to trust the uniform," The daughters' mother said. "She went to that uniform when he approached her."
She and her husband, a senior chief petty officer in the Navy Reserve who was serving as an El Paso County sheriff's deputy at the time, said they had to hide evidence of the military in their home to protect their daughter.
Lucas' parents also spoke, calling his crimes a sickness.
"I'm broken-hearted that he's been fighting this demon," said his mother, Marsha Lucas.
Aaron Lucas graduated in the top 10 percent in his high school class, went to college on a football scholarship and graduated with a business degree before joining the military, his parents told the judge.
"He could easily be considered a hero for his actions in Afghanistan," said his father Bruce Lucas, adding that the stress of combat prompted his actions. "His crimes are a result of an illness."
Lucas was a victim of sexual assault himself, said his father.
Lucas acknowledged his crimes before the court.
"I've been dealing with this for a very, very long time, since I was a child," Lucas told the judge after apologizing to victims and their families.
"There's always time to change. There's always time to get better. Please get me treatment as fast as you can, I've been trying for so long."
Prosecutors told the judge that treatment would not work for a man they said had repeatedly and deliberately made the decision to prey on children.
"It's very dangerous to say a man is a throwaway person never to be repaired," Lucas' defense attorney Ted McClintock countered, adding that he'd accepted responsibility for his evils.
Lucas' brother will be faced with the same opportunity in the coming months. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 12 in Alabama to decide whether Brian Lucas' case should go before a grand jury.